A federal judge in Texas has ruled that major elements of the Affordable Care Act are unconstitutional in his decision on a lawsuit brought by 20 Republican state officials and supported by President Donald Trump's Justice Department.
Twenty Republican state attorneys general brought the suit, Texas v. Azar, who asked the court to rule that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) violates the Constitution after Republicans managed to zero out Obamacare's individual mandate penalty with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act past year.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who spearheaded the lawsuit, said the ruling "will give President Trump and Congress the opportunity to replace the failed social experiment with a plan that ensures Texans and all Americans will again have greater choice about what health coverage they need and who will be their doctor".
The decision will be immediately appealed, said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who led a group of blue states in intervening to defend the law.
"As I predicted all along, Obamacare has been struck down as an UNCONSTITUTIONAL disaster!"
Ending the act would eliminate current protections for those with pre-existing conditions, such as pregnancy, arthritis and diabetes.
Mr. Trump told Senate Majority Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, poised to become speaker, to "get it done" in his tweets. United States, concluding that the individual mandate is unconstitutional and that, as a effect, the entire Affordable Care Act is invalid. Great news for America!'
Judge Reed O'Connor agreed with them, declaring the mandate and Obamacare "inseverable and therefore invalid".
"The remainder of the ACA is non-severable from the individual mandate, meaning that the Act must be invalidated in whole", O'Connor wrote, according to Bloomberg. The Supreme Court's reasoning in NFIB-buttressed by other binding precedent and plain text-thus compels the conclusion that the Individual Mandate may no longer be upheld under the Tax Power. 'It is like watching a slow game of Jenga, each party poking at a different provision to see if the ACA falls'.
At issue was the individual mandate, the provision in Obamacare that requires everyone to have health insurance or face a penalty in the form of a tax.
About 11.8 million consumers nationwide enrolled in 2018 Obamacare exchange plans, according to the USA government's Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Trump tweeted minutes after the ruling was reported, saying that "not surprisingly, ObamaCare was just ruled UNCONSTITUTIONAL by a highly respected judge in Texas".
The attorney for the suit, Robert Henneke, said the Affordable Care Act is no longer legal because Congress deleted the individual mandate in the GOP's tax bill previous year. They argued the judge should spare the rest of the law, which includes Medicaid expansion, the employer mandate, health exchanges, premium subsidies and federal health-care reimbursement rates for hospitals.
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